WomEn in CTRL release ‘A SEAT AT THE TABLE’ Report on diversity in the music industry

Women in CTRL have released a report on diversity in music trade organisations.

The Not-For-Profit organisation was set up to empower and inspire women in the entertainment, creative and business sectors of the music industry. The recent horrific events around race have shocked the world and sparked overdue reflection and discussion on discrimination and systemic racism within the music industry, and shone attention on some of the vast disparities. 

The UK music industry has several influential trade bodies, who are set up to actively educate, lobby, action change and lead the way on behalf of the wider industry.  Many have released statements calling for diversity and change within the industry, however if these companies are not diverse themselves how can they be taking on the task? 

Women in CTRL conducted an analysis of the make-up of 12 of the key Music trade organisations- including the Board of Directors, CEOs, Chairpersons and teams. This initial report focused on Gender splits and the representation of Black women within these organisations. 

The findings are detailed within the full report available here

Findings include:

  • Women are underrepresented within leadership positions: Only 3 Female CEOs, and 1 Female Chair across the 12 music trade organisations 
  • Black Women are severely underrepresented across all trade bodies: 5 board seats out of a possible 185 are held by Black woman, and only 2 positions employed within teams out of 122 roles are Black women. 

Women in CTRL Founder, Nadia Khan, explains the reasons behind the report: 

“As I’ve progressed through my career in the music industry over the last 18 years I saw no representation of Women or minorities within organisations at the top level and I found it perplexing how white men were making all the decisions as gatekeepers on Black music. A lot of my work as a manager has been consumed with fighting against the uphill battle, through every hurdle and finding a way around every door that was closed for Black artists in the music industry in live, TV, radio, record labels, and every other sector. 

“I value that there is now an interest in discussing diversity in the industry, and I see the many recent statements from organisations on how much of an importance diversity & inclusion is to them. However, statements are not enough. If we really want to really eradicate inequality in music then all organisations need to take accountability and make concrete action to increase representation of women in leadership roles, and diversity and inclusion within their organisations for minorities, in particular Black women who are severely underrepresented. 

“Those organisations that prioritise advancing women and growing representation of minority voices will be the ones who lead the tide for diversity. Through WIC I want to work with organisations to engage in open conversations, agree deliverable targets to action change. I hope that all the organisations in the report will publicly agree to the WIC diversity pledge. 

It’s time for the music industry to proceed with purpose and offer a #SeatAtTheTable to women and minorities in the music industry.” 

Women in CTRL asks all 12 trade organisations in this report to join the WIC Diversity pledge to work with us towards a commitment to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. Read the full diversity pledge on the report here

Paulette Long OBE says: “As a Black woman working in the music industry, I have been sitting on trade body boards for the last 14 years. The ‘Seat At The Table’ report by ‘Women in CTRL’ highlights the fact that there has been little to no change in the number of Black females at this level for almost the entire duration of my tenure. In a sector that gains riches from its very diverse creative pool, this disparity is much too wide. 

This is a deep-rooted problem that must be addressed. Industry-wide bodies should be ashamed of the part their negligence has played in this justice imbalance, but let’s work together to bring about change. There is a rare window of opportunity open for us to do this. The place is here and the time is now. Whatever it takes, let’s paint a new picture. A picture where diversity reigns. A picture in which more Black women can finally take their seat at the table. I’ve been there. I’ve added my voice and witnessed the difference the Black and female perspective can make. What are we waiting for?” 

Kanya King, MOBO says: “I would recommend that trade bodies are to lead the way in tackling barriers to make more room for underrepresented groups to progress. Strong direction through policy, accountability and reporting is required to show that the music industry is not just for the privileged few. Diversity targets should be drawn up so that what matters gets measured.” 


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